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Faithbusters: Stuff…….. post-sermon Q&A

So, a question came in via email about last Sunday’s message.
You might remember that we talked about what I believe to be the most dangerous of all Faithbusters at large here in Canada.
Namely,  STUFF.
Obsessing about it,  wanting lots of it,  protecting our stuff…  All that sort of thing can quickly begin to dominate our energy,  and suck up all available passion from within our souls.
If you didn’t get a chance to hear it,  the podcast is posted here at Pastorkensnotes.com
As is the study guide.
So,  to the question :
North American culture fosters students to excel in creativity, purpose, results. When they are knowledgeable in their field there is money to be made and wealth can show in home and on the yard. Does your sermon not discourage effort with a reward and compel people to do a half hearted job in order to be obedient to the wealth teaching of the New Testament?
Thanks for thinking about it, and for asking.
I’m sure there are more than one person asking the same thing.
So – could this teaching actually be a de-motivator for work and honest effort?
There is an assumption built into this question.
Did you notice it?
It is this:
the greatest reward,  the incentive that counts, the carrot at the end of the stick which keeps us moving forward in our training and work,  be it in our paid careers or otherwise, is accumulated wealth. 
A healthy bank account. 
A big home. 
A beautiful yard. 
These things keep us doing our best at work.  
Take away those rewards,  says this assumption, and there’s no real reason to get up and get going.
Do you believe that?
Or – might there be another way to stay motivated?
Might there be some other reason to get up and work each day?
What do you think?
I just got back from a short prayer retreat at the Divine Mercy Centre in Lanark.
Got to spend some time with my new friend, Brother Willy,  founder of the community.
Last night Willy shared his testimony with me and my buddy Shawn.
Willy gave up a multi-million dollar career to found this centre.
He had it all –  cars,  dollars,  parties,  etc.
But had a near-death experience through which the Lord showed him that these things,  while OK in their proper place,  are
             NOT what life is about;
             NOT why you are given talents and abilities and opportunities.
Reality is WAY bigger than that.
Life –  and all we have in it – is a gift from God.
We are entrusted with it,  and called to serve him through it.
As such, we are called to do whatever we do,  as if the only one watching us,  were the Lord himself.
So – care for his  Creation.
Love his people.
Seek to bring a smile to his face.
And, while you’re at it, imagine that Christ were cheering you on.
Imagine him watching your Monday-Friday, nodding with approval,  and saying “well done!”
Let THAT be your motivation.
After his encounter with death,  and being given a glimpse of the vast reality that exists beyond death,  Willy realized that he hadn’t  cared at all if he were breaking Christ’s heart through his business practices; that it had been all about Willy.  He realized that this had to change….  NOW!
Well, it HAS changed… totally.
Willy now seeks to spread the mercy of Christ through the community he leads.
And finds his joy in that.
He knows,  through the inner witness of the Holy Spirit,  that the Lord is pleased with what he does.
THAT is his motivation to get up each morning.
Does he have less stuff?  Yup.
Enough? Oh yes. Manna shows up all the time.
Is he happy?
One look in his eyes answers that.
In Matthew 25 Jesus tells the parable of talents.
Opportunities and resources are entrusted to some servants by their master.
After a time the master calls the servants to account.
He praises those who gave their all,  and used their stuff, in his service.
You and I are those servants.
My bank account,  your car,  the job with influence, the people we come to know at work and elsewhere…  These are opportunities and resources entrusted to us by our Heavenly Master.
Can we see that?
And deal with them accordingly?
Can THAT be our motivation to find joy in the work,  to do our best,  to serve well?
Can we follow the call of Colossians 3:23-24, which says:
 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
I think that if the big reason we go to work is to fatten the bank account,  or secure the bigger mortgage, or drive the nicer car,  maybe it’s time to quit.
Or maybe go spend a weekend at Willy’s. And hear his story.
Be blessed, friends, as you bring a smile to Jesus’ face this week!
May it be your motivating joy.

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